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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 58]
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Learning History and Organizing Thru the Walls

When I first came to prison my whole perception of organizing in the streets changed. It changed due to education of history: history of other movements and how to organize the streets from within the prison walls. I do believe that prisoners can have a great influence on activists due to our struggles in here. But as the saying goes, a prisoner struggle today is the street's struggle tomorrow. The work which must be done inside these walls to help influence other organizations is education, strategy, and unity among all workers and oppressed people. But what I find is happening in the streets is that everyone wants to choose what battle is most important to their cause rather than finding a solution to all organizers' challenges.

Here in prison we sometimes get caught up getting a big head for fighting an issue which just caters to a person's selfish desires, rather than challenging issues which change the system as a whole. So we must learn to unify under one umbrella to tackle the issues we face.

My target audience will be the workers 'cause I believe they have power but don't know it yet. But the difference that contradicts working with workers is some are so caught up in consumerism so that they will not organize, or they don't want to lose their status so they will not wholeheartedly strike or fight for better wages. The lumpen can also be tricky to work with, due to a lack of resources.

We will have to build public opinion thru certain media outlets, hip hop culture, sports entertainers, and thru magazines. The contradictions to capitalism must be exposed so the targeted audience will have something to fight for. But to conclude, prisoners can help street LOs by building unity and overstanding each others' issues and combining theory and using science to challenge the system of imperialism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer raises an important point about needing to be able to look beyond our persynal issues and desires to the broader problems of the oppressed. This is especially important if we hope to unite beyond our local set. And we can certainly use cultural outlets to build public opinion and unity.

On the question of organizing workers, we've written a lot about the bought off nature of the vast majority of workers within U.$. borders and we see this as a material explanation for what this writer notes: they are caught up in consumerism and don't want to lose their status. These workers are earning more than the value of their labor because of all the profits from exploitation in the Third World brought back to this imperialist country. And so the workers here do understand that their status is valuable and profitable. They have the money to spend that allows them to get caught up in consumerism. As a result, we have seen throughout Amerikkkan history that these folks are not a force for progressive change. And organizing them to demand higher wages is not organizing against imperialism. This is one of the reasons we focus on organizing the lumpen as a group more likely to have an interest in revolution.

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[Abuse] [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 57]
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DPRK Condemned for Abuse we see in Amerikan Prisons Daily

charles grainer #1 with dead prisoner
Amerikan prison guard-turned-soldier handling
the dead body of a persyn deemed a political enemy

On June 13, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) released an Amerikan student, Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned there for 15 months. The student came home in a coma and died a few days later. According to Korean officials, Warmbier had been in a coma since shortly after his arrest due to complications from botulism, a condition that can be contracted from contaminated food, soil or water. It's likely that the imprisonment of Warmbier was just a political move by the DPRK government. He was convicted of stealing a propaganda poster.

What is unusual about Warmbier is that he was a young, well-off white guy, enjoying the privilege of his Amerikan citizenship and wealth by going on a fun adventure to visit north Korea. Amerika mostly targets lumpen from oppressed nations and non-citizens for imprisonment, as well as people who take up the fight against imperialism. So in this country Warmbier would be very unlikely to end up in prison.

After Warmbier's death there was an outcry of criticism of the DPRK government, with Trump attacking the "brutality of the North Korean regime." These criticisms come from the same people who are silent on conditions in Amerikan prisons that lead to deaths regularly. Prisoners regularly get sick from conditions that include insufficient or even contaminated food(1), mold(2), toxins and other environmental risks in old and unclean prisons(3), contaminated water(4), unsafe levels of heat(5), and inadequate, incompetent and willfully neglegent medical care.(6) And that is just the list of "negligence" abuse. Meanwhile, over 100,000 prisoners are tortured daily in U.$. prisons(7) and some politically active and critical prisoners have ended up dead.(8)

In a parallel to this case in Korea, Amerikan prisons hold many non-citizens(9), especially from Mexico and Central America, locked up for small or bogus charges. If not for conditions caused by imperialism, these people want to go home to their country and families. Some don't speak English and so can't even fight for their rights. Some were railroaded into pleading guilty without really understanding the trial. And some of these prisoners will end up seriously ill or even die due to conditions in Amerikan prisons.(10)

We don't hold out hope that the white nationalists will offer a criticism of the "brutality of the Amerikan regime" for all these crimes against prisoners held behind bars in this country. It should be an embarrassment to Amerikans that the United $tates locks up people at a rate higher than any other country in the world. But this system of social control is swept under the rug, while appologists for imperialism hypocritically criticize the DPRK (and other countries) for their treatment of one Amerikan prisoner.

MIM(Prisons) struggles for an end to a system where prisons are places where people suffer and die premature deaths.

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
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Suit to Ensure Improved Disciplinary Process for Deaf Prisoners

I am hearing (deaf) / speech (mute from past strokes) / vision (blind in one eye and impaired in other eye) and W/C [bathroom] restricted/disabled. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was refusing to turn the closed captioning on the televisions for me and other offenders who are deaf, hearing impaired, disabled, or hard of hearing.

Also, being given disciplinary case knowing I was deaf, violating my due process rights by not passing a note. No written communication of what was going on during the disciplinary process so-called "investigations."

Now, thanks to Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), Mr. Brian R. McViverin and Ms. Barke Butler and three others, TDCJ is to have closed captioning feature on these dorm dayroom TVs from the time they are turned on to rack time. And any disciplinary cases I'm (or others of my type of hearing disabilities in accordance of the ADA) given, TDCJ must use special forms for me to read, answer, and sign/initial during the whole process. And anything spoken must be written down. If I see any lip movement and it is not written down, this becomes a violation of my Civil Action suit.

So, if you can, read this Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-02241 compromise and settlement agreement. Please let others know of this. I know I can not have been the only one that has had these problems with TDCJ.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This contributor shouldn't have had to go through the trouble of filing a Civil Action Suit in order to be afforded what is already guaranteed to em from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We here at MIM(Prisons) are disgusted by the behavior of TDCJ, which we see reflected all across the country in various forms. In a society that isn't run by profit and pigs, the courtesy of inclusion wouldn't require all the runaround and paperwork.

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[Gender] [Abuse] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 57]
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Strip Searches Only for Harassment in Pennsylvania

There is no genuine or legal justification for still using strip searches in prisons today, except to breed homosexuality and cause aggressive sexual assaults, using it as a punishment to humiliate someone. I can prove without a doubt that times have changed/evolved and this strip naked prison rule is outdated. Modernized technology has invented what is called x-ray machines, which are used to search/see the body without forcing nude search. Prisoncrats provided prisons with sufficient funds to purchase and provide such x-ray machines. Prison staff, in their sadistic practices and policies to punish captives, refuse to use the x-ray machines for body searches.

Metal detectors are stationed throughout the prison, checkpoints forcing captives to walk through them, in their policy to confiscate any and all illegal metal objects. Captives are never asked if they are allergic to the radiation of the metal detectors or x-ray machines, which explains the prison staff's complete disregard for the physical or psychological effects on the captives.

We captives of the Pennsylvania state prisons ask for legal advice in our desires to sue the Department of Corrections for forcing the strip search policies. We live during advanced technologies and modernized minds, which dictates, strip searches are outdated, violates religious rights, breeds sexual predators, and are methods used to harass, humiliate and harm captives. Not to mention strip searchings are methods used identical to the times of slavery.

If for no other humane reasons, prison strip searches needs to be abolished, eliminated, minimized, because state prisons have been provided with the necessary machinery and manpower to secure prison grounds and facilities. The time is here. We the state captives in Pennsylvania prisons ask any and all judicial scholars and students of civil law, for legal advice, and to petition the courts to abolish all prison strip search policies.

There is the questions raised about prison security being vulnerable, and breached, if the strip search policy is eliminated. Such positions, beliefs or arguments are simply said to continue this long practice of psychological slavery in prisons. When in fact, x-ray machines detect any metal or foreign objects and contraband. Therefore, since state prisons have x-ray machines and metal detectors on facility grounds, it shows any need to search a subject can be done without the need of such said subjects being forced to disrobe, strip naked. Which means, if the metal detectors and x-ray machines they have are not successful to secure the prison facilities, then their machines are obsolete and obtained falsely.

However, if such machines and technologies are vital and essential to the security orders of running the prisons, then strip searchings are deemed obsolete and performed falsely. It is our contention, challenge, calling, that because x-ray and metal detector machines are used, that shows strip searches are no longer needed or necessary. Which proves strip searching are being used simply as a form of the prison's psychological punishments.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections state prisons has implemented a new policy against sexual assaults/harassments, called the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This PREA policy exposes its own ineffectiveness and prejudicial punishment, under the disguise of prosecuting sexual harassment and/or predators. To prove that this new PREA policy has been designed to minimize and eliminate sexual assaults in all of its manifestations on prison grounds, strip searching would also be minimized or eliminated as a means to sexual assaults and sexual harassments on state prison grounds.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer makes an important point: guards use strip searches as a form of gendered power that humiliates and degrades prisoners. But we don't agree that this abuse of power causes guards (or prisoners) to become homosexual. And even if that was possible, it's patriarchal society that teaches people to use gender for power and abuse which is the problem. There is no evidence that any sexual orientation is more predatory than any other. We need to focus on the real enemy here: the patriarchy which trains people to enjoy the abuse of gender power.

Prisoners are in a unique position in that they face gender oppression as a part of their imprisonment. This is true of both male and female prisoners. Strip searches are a good example of this gender oppression. This writer raises a good point about the abuse of power, and specifically gender power, that happens every time there is a strip search. This degrading practice is not for security, as this writer clearly demonstrates.

Identifying this form of oppression and calling it out for people to see is the first step in fighting back. The idea of using PREA to fight strip searches is an interesting approach. We'd like to hear from others who are fighting strip searches about what tactics are and are not working. Ultimately gender oppression in prisons isn't going away while we have a criminal injustice system serving imperialism. The patriarchy is an integral part of this system. But we can sometimes win smaller battles against these forms of humiliation and degradation.

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[Legal] [Organizing] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California] [ULK Issue 60]
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PLC Report from Corcoran SHU

Revolutionary Greetings,

This is my report about how the Prisoners' Legal Clinic here in the Corcoran Ad-seg/SHU is going. As a Clinic Coordinator, I've been responsible for showing inmates how to read and study the Title 15, which allows you to know what rights you have as a prisoner, and learn how to file a box. You'd be surprised to know, a lot of inmates don't understand the basics, but we've had minimal success. The accomplishments have resulted in (1) inmates getting their property in an orderly fashion, (2) getting allowable items that were granted from the hunger strikes, (3) receiving our program of yard & showers that we're being denied for lack of staff, (4) and being assigned a regular counselor to come by once a week to see if we need any assistance and making sure we get our NDS privileges (phone calls weekly or monthly & canteen draw of $165.00 instead of $55.00).

I've also filed a few written letters that have helped a few people get back to court, and allowed them to also be able to go to the law library once a week without having a case pending, which was the only way before. At this time we do not need any legal materials as we have enough at our disposal. This is a positive endeavor here, and this concluded my report.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The Prisoners' Legal Clinic is a serve the people program, made up of prisoners in the United $tates who are fighting injustice in the anti-imperialist movement. Through the PLC legally-savvy comrades offer legal assistance to others in their prison in exchange for some political work. And behind the scenes MIM(Prisons) provides the resources and support needed by our Clinic Coordinators. This program helps support necessary legal struggles of prisoners while also making the connection between these struggles and our broader political organizing. Write to us for more information if you want to coordinate a Clinic where you are at.

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[Gender] [ULK Issue 61]
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Pornography and Patriarchal Culture Imprisons Some While Others Profit

The May 2017 issue of the Family Fun magazine (owned by the media conglomerate Meredith Corporation) has produced and distributed an advertisement that meets the federal definition of child pornography. The ad shows a boy duck-taping a prepubescent girl to a garage wall. The image does not depict any nudity or sexual activity, but this does not matter under the law, which defines "sexually explicit conduct" to include "sadistic or masochistic abuse."

[One prisoner] found out the hard way. He is serving a 97-month federal prison sentence, to be followed by a lifetime of "supervised release" and registration as a dangerous "sex offender" for having received a similar but less explicit image. "All I remember about getting it was that it was in some ZIP file," said [the prisoner]. "I didn't think anything of it, as there was no nudity or anything sexual about it. But the government has destroyed my life."

"Then a friend of mine in prison saw this ad for Capri Sun," [the prisoner] said. "It is worse than the image I was sentenced for in every possible way. It shows clear and unambiguous active bondage; the girl is younger; her legs are spread; and there is a masochistic smile on her face." [The prisoner] wrote Kraft Heinz, the President, congress and as many civil rights and legal assistance organizations as he could. [The prisoner] continued, "Although the Capri Sun ad is tasteless, sexist, and more than a little disturbing, I don't think anybody should go to prison over it. Yet I am in prison and the rest of my life is destroyed for receiving an image that is mild by comparison."


MIM(Prisons) responds: Although we couldn't find a copy of this magazine ad, we don't doubt that this and many other magazines and so many other capitalist advertisements include pornographic images. Even billboards feature girls who look like they are 10 modeling skimpy clothing with a sexy pout on their faces. It is this patriarchal culture that puts pornography out in everything we see. And it is this culture that teaches people to enjoy pornography, coercion and sexual assault. Essentially capitalism is creating rapists while pretending to be shocked and offended by them.

People who get locked up for sex offenses are right to claim a double standard. That doesn't make what the sex offenders did right, it just makes society so very wrong. And as a result we're left with a criminal injustice system that gets to pick and choose who they want to prosecute. No surprise we end up with a disproportionate number of New Afrikan and [email protected] men locked up for these crimes.

It will take a revolutionary culture, and many years of fighting to eliminate the patriarchy, before we can truly eliminate pornography and sexual assault from humyn society. We will need to not only revolutionize our culture, but also re-educate everyone who has been inundated with patriarchy from birth. And those who internalized it to the extent of acting out violent sexual assaults and other crimes against the people will need even further re-education and rehabilitation before they can safely re-integrate into society.

For now, whether you are locked up justly or unjustly we urge you to take a hard look at your views about gender, how you treat people and how you view people, and consider how this is conditioned by patriarchal culture. We welcome all revolutionary activists to take up the struggle, regardless of your past, but we all need to be conscious of the effects of the patriarchy on our actions and beliefs.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Anchorage Correctional Complex ] [Alaska]
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Alaska Punishes Grievances with Segregation

Another pretrial detainee and I were rolled up and put into punitive segregation for the grievances, appeals and letters that we wrote to the Alaska DOC commissioner and our state's Lieutenant Governor, in standing up for our rights here at Anchorage correctional Complex (ACC). Detainees here are afraid of the retaliation brought upon those that stand up for their rights.

Superintendent Jesse Self, Assistant Superintendent Sondra Thomas, Lieutenant Jason Hamilton, Segregation Sergeant Tania Enyard, and Standards Sergeant G. Helms have all participated in violating pretrial detainees' rights at ACC. Grievances take four-plus months to be processed, if they even get processed. Many request for interview (RFI) forms never see an answer either. Requests through proper channels like RFIs, grievances and appeals go to the ears and eyes of the deaf and blind officials that condone these atrocities of injustice to happen. If one makes too many, or too loud, complaints against the officials in charge about the conditions here at ACC, they are relieved of all legal and personal property and put into punitive segregation for up to three months, without due process.

I have been in punitive segregation for only three days and I had to practically beg to get law library access once, for an hour. Under Alaska law we are to be allowed law library access at least seven hours a week. I may end up writing more grievances and appeals from punitive segregation than I have written total in the last two years. Of course, that depends on how long they keep me here in punitive segregation.

On your grievance campaign, I rewrote the copy that you sent me and I will try to get a version of it sent your way. I have not heard back from any of the officials that I sent it to. I sent, on my behalf, copies to Alaska DOC Commissioner Dean Williams, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, and the Department of Justice in Washington DC.

So many Alaskan pretrial detainees and prisoners do not know that their rights are being violated under both the U.S. Constitution and the Alaska Constitution. The guards run over them and their rights, stomping them into the ground. I am not legal knowledgeable, although I'm learning more all the time. I am trying to put together a lawsuit on my own behalf against officials of Alaska DOC. I have read enough to know that administrative remedies must be exhausted, and the lawsuit must be written correctly to be kept from being screened out of court. I have the grievance and appeal process down fairly good, it's the court filing that I was working on before being put into punitive segregation. I'm not beat, they have only slowed me down.

I share your publications with anyone and everyone that I can. I can't keep much in my possession anyway, so I write down what I'm interested in and pass on your publications. Thank you for the informative publication.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [David Wade Correctional Center] [Louisiana] [ULK Issue 57]
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Isolation and Torturous Conditions at David Wade Corrections Center

To whom it may concern, this is a plea for help from all prisoners housed in David Wade Correctional Center (DWCC) located in Homer, Louisiana.

Warden Goodwin is locking us inside these torture chambers for years with no educational activities, no corrective-rehabilitative programs, and no counseling for mental health. The lawmakers' and courts' intentions were to send those convicted of a crime to prison as a punishment, not to be oppressed, tortured in a cell 24-7 with nothing to do for years with nothing to better themselves, also with no TV or radio to have contact with the outside world. The lawmakers' intent was that prisoners receive correction and rehabilitation so as to return to society as productive, tax-paying, law-abiding members. By prisoners not being able to better themselves behind these walls, that is what makes us the highest incarceration state of the U.S.

Warden Goodwin is forcing mentally ill prisoners in a cell together 24-7, only coming out for a shower, and in turn these prisoners are hurting each other and raping each other. The policy #035 stated no maximum ext-lockdown inmate should be housed together but they are at DWCC where if you do not go in the cell you will be pepper sprayed. And not knowing what to expect or having any idea as to the length of confinement is added stress and particularly traumatizing, compounded by simplistic practices. The courts have also held that housing mentally ill prisoners under conditions of extreme isolation is unconstitutional, see Wilkerson v. Goodwin 12-17-14 [This case addressed long-term/indefinite solitary confinement, not specifically for the mentally ill - ULK Editor]. There has been much research that demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement is most dangerous to the mentally ill. Thus, we become disturbed with mental anguish that compels us to grab and adopt to other means and channel our pain, many are cutting themselves and going on hunger strikes. These are only a few experiences of prisoners. We need help, we need change, expose this torture!

Help us today, make a call or fax our governor and head of DOC. Ask them to close the torture chamber confinement unit at DWCC:

James Leblanc, Secretary of Corrections 225-342-6740 fax: 225-342-3095
Governor John Edwards 225-342-7015 fax 225-342-0002

MIM(Prisons) adds: As we have discussed elsewhere, isolation in prisons and mental illness reinforce each other under the current imperialist prison model. Too often people in these institutions are seen as lacking as individuals, when it is a system that creates this crisis in mental health. That is one reason we have continued to focus on the campaign to end the torture that is solitary confinement in the U.$. injustice system.

This issue of Under Lock & Key is focused on disabilities in prison. The use of control units to torture people, leading to physical and mental health problems is very much related to this topic. Long-term isolation is creating more and more disabled prisoners, by destroying their health. And then prisons are perpetuating this problem by failing to provide adequate care for the problems they created.

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[Hunger Strike] [Waupun Correctional Institution] [Green Bay Correctional Institution] [Wisconsin Secure Program Facility] [Wisconsin]
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Wisconsin Hunger Strike Against Ad-Seg Conditions

In late May, prisoners in several Wisconsin prisons renewed the hunger strike against torture in that state's prisons. In addition to arbitrarily long terms in solitary confinement, the prisons are not following their own rules about things like required time out of cell.(1) We are awaiting more news of the action from our comrades in Wisconsin.

In 2016 Wisconsin prisoners staged a hunger strike protesting long-term solitary confinement practices in that state. This strike started June 10 and went for several months and involved force feeding of some participants. You can read the history here and here. The administration punished the protesters but did nothing to modify their solitary confinement policies which included arbitrarily and poorly defined offenses leading to long sentences in isolation.

The 2016 petition from striking prisoners at Waupun is printed below:

Dying to Live

Human rights fight at Waupun Correctional Institution starting June 10, 2016. Prisoners in Waupun's solitary confinement will start No Food & Water humanitarian demand from Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials.

The why: In the state of Wisconsin hundreds of prisoners are in the long term solitary confinement units a.k.a. Administrative Confinement (AC). Some been in this status from 18 to 20 years.

The Problem: The United Nations, several states, and even President Obama have come out against this kind of confinement citing the torturous effect it has on prisoners.

The Objective: Stop the torturous use long-term solitary confinement (AC) by:

  1. Placing a legislative cap on the use of long term solitary confinement (AC)
  2. DOC and Wisconsin legislators adoption/compliance of the UN Mandela rules on the use of solitary confinement(5)
  3. Oversight board/committee independent of DOC to stop abuse and overclassification of prisoners to "short" and "long" term solitary confinement.
  4. Immediate transition and release to a less restrictive housing of prisoners who been on the long term solitary confinement units for more than a year in the Wisconsin DOC
  5. Proper mental health facilities and treatment of "short" and "long" term solitary confinement prisoners
  6. An immediate FBI investigation to the secret Asklepieion* program the DOC is currently operating at Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI) to break any prisoner who the DOC considers a threat to their regimen

How you can help

  1. Call Governor Scott Walker's office and tell him to reform the long-term solitary confinement units in the Wisconsin DOC and to stop the secret Asklepieion program at once. The number to call is 608-266-1212.
  2. Call the DOC central office and demand that all 6 humanitarian demands for this hunger strike be met and demand an explanation as to why they are operating a torture program. The number to call is 608-240-5000.
  3. Call the media and demand that they do an independent investigation on the secret Asklepieion program operating at Columbia Correctional Institution, and cover this hunger strike.
  4. Call the FBI building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and demand that they investigate the secret Asklepieion torture program being run at CCI. The phone number to call is 414-276-4684.
  5. Call Columbia Correctional Institution and tell them you are aware of their secret torture program. Harass them! 608-742-9100.
  6. Join in on the hunger strike and post it on the net. Convince others to join as well.


    Notes: https://solitarytorture.blogspot.com/2017/05/hunger-strike-renewed-at-gbci-wci-and.html
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[Economics] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 62]
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Pennsylvania Spends on Prison, Cuts Other Services

I want to write about my thoughts on prison reform and rehabilitation specifically in the state of Pennsylvania. Prison reform? Criminal "justice" reform? As long as the criminal justice system and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) remain lucrative industries those things will never happen!

To have any type of reform, I believe people should be held accountable for their misconduct (judges, prosecutors, governors, secretary of corrections, correctional officers, etc.) but that's never the case in Pennsylvania. Here in Pennsylvania, these rural areas in particular, the PDOC is a refuge for the unqualified and uneducated, who don't desire anything better for themselves.

Pennsylvania's state budget is crumbling due to the amount of overtime received by COs and to the excess state employees hired in the PDOC. Governor Wolf announced that he wanted to lay off 900 unneeded state employees and close a few jails because of the budget strain. However, Governor Wolf was opposed (almost violently) by the rural population. Their argument wasn't about the "criminals" that could possibly go free; they were concerned about not finding employment anywhere else. Overwhelmed, Wolf decided to only close one prison (which wasn't in a rural area) and retain the state employees (COs).

Instead of doing what he originally saw fit to do, Wolf was forced to cut back on the Meals on Wheels program, raise the state tax, and allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays amongst other things. As you would figure, all of those cutbacks didn't even begin to alleviate the budgetary stress. Why? Because those things weren't issues.

The fact still exist that there are too many state prison officials being hired and Pennsylvania needs to cut back on this senseless hiring, but Gov. Wolf was pretty much bullied out of action. All of this factors into the lack of prison and criminal justice reform, for if there was someone who could educate the tax payers who honestly believe that their "hard earned" dollars are "keeping their community safe" instead of funding a correctional officer's workers' compensation scam, educate them about where their money is actually going and what needs to be done. If a majority of the tax payers knew the truth about their money, about the funding of our oppression, suppression and torture, I believe that they would be more inclined to demand criminal justice and prison reform.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer provides a good exposure of the interest that prison guard unions and other prison employees have in maintaining or increasing the number of imprisoned people and the number of prisons in the United $tates. And also the political power these workers can exert when their jobs are threatened.

But we have to put this information in a larger context. Prisons are a very small part of state budgets, so it's not the CO overtime causing the Pennsylvania budget to crumble. In the Pennsylvania 2016-2017 budget, 8% went towards prisons.(1) It is good that the budget crisis in Pennsylvania is leading to considerations of closing prisons, but the response by COs and others benefiting from jobs with the prisons is the same we see across the country. Nonetheless, we need to be honest that shutting down a few prisons won't make much of a dent in the state budget.

While we would also like to think that people faced with information about oppression and torture would oppose it, we don't think the terrible conditions in Amerikan prisons are such a big secret. Many Amerikans are vocal in calling for even worse conditions, arguing that prisoners deserve whatever happens to them. And there is little outrage when stories of corruption among prison guards come out. The financial rewards all Amerikans are getting by living here within this wealthy imperialist country has created a population that supports imperialism and its criminal injustice system. While the oppressed nations within U.$. borders do generally come down against the oppression and corruption, the Amerikkkan nation, especially in rural counties, can be counted on to throw its support behind the system.

Note:
Penn Live, July 8, 2016. PA spends more on prisons than colleges, report says. http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/07/pa_prison_budget_tops_higher_e.html
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